(AsiaNews) - The family is the setting that gives work meaning, continuity and efficiency.
This has always been the case, but it is more urgent today because work is
defined more by its "human quality" than "productive capacity". For this
reason, "human qualities" must be taught in the family as a priority to generate
wellbeing (and goodness) in society.
is the second chapter in the 'cultural revolution' that the World Meeting of
Families is undertaking at present in Milan. Yesterday's chapter indicated how
family life based on a man, a woman and two or more children, is a key asset
that brings the most happiness in society.
opposition to the prevailing worldview, the theological pastoral congress noted
that without the family there is no "good work". Hence, business people and
political leaders should pay attention to the family-oriented worldview rather than
view the institution of the family as a competitor or just as unit in which
consumption takes place.
Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop emeritus of Milan, gave the "thumbs up" to this "revolution"
by stressing the "family aspect of human labour". In today's society, "it is
unusual to relate family and work because of the widespread belief that only
the relationship between the individual and his/her work matters, as informed
by the post-modern culture and its focus on the single individual, divorced
from others, as if they are either did not exist or where irrelevant. Experience
tells us that we are shaped by multiple relationships, from the one that
generated us to those that made us grow."
this, important consequences follow:
1) Freely giving is also important in
workplace because "it is untrue that the quest for maximum profit and economic utility
make people do things. Charity is the true and most explosive motivator because
it energises and strengthens new fraternal relationships in every family,
enterprise and the wider human family."
2) "Humanity does not exist for work, but for
the Sabbath (the day of rest). . . . The
time at work inevitably differentiates and divides, whereas rest and celebration
soften social inequalities as people become better acquainted with one another,
share and communicate."
3) Since people must work, underpaying
manual labour is "scandalous unfair" when compared to the "excessive
remunerations" that capital-intensive activities provide. [. . .] Are the time,
physical and mental effort and responsibilities of the lowliest employee less
valuable than the time, efforts and responsibility of a financial wizard, a captain
of industry, a political leader or a sportsman?"
at length the Bible, the social doctrine of the Church, and the encyclical Caritas in veritate, Card Tettamanzi stressed
the potential for a "positive alliance between work and family life". To become
a reality, it would require a commitment from politicians and trade unions as well
as solidarity to defend workers' rights across the board. "The life and health of
a Chinese worker are worth the same as that of an Italian worker," he said.
Pedro Morandé (pictured), 64, from
the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, described in a more scientific way
the value of the family in today's world. Citing the encyclical Centesimus Annus, he said, "If at one
point, land was the main factor of production, followed by capital, defined as
machines and instrumental assets, people today are increasingly the decisive
factor thanks to their capacity to understand through scientific knowledge, to
organise together and to recognise intuitively the needs of one another and
this reason, he concluded, "the family has become the crucial agent in generating
'human capital'. Indeed, the family provides a "great opportunity" for today's
workforce. "Attitudes towards knowledge and information; intellectual curiosity;
capacity to be intellectually and emotionally challenged by the actual world; and
empathy towards what exists, especially other human beings, are virtues that
feed on the inner freedom that has not and cannot be the by-product of
industry, but comes from the experience of sharing with others. And this
certainly begins inside the family."
we must look at work and the family together, ensuring part-time work for women
with children, caring for the elderly, improving education and looking at these
not as obstacles to production, but as a social good of which work is a part.
Prof Morandé Court, little value is given to this "new cultural horizon" or to the
institution of the family, especially in Europe, where it is near extinction. All
evidence suggests that individualism has been a failure-psychoses, suicide and
demographic winter are its legacy. The welfare state has not done much better, proving
unable to care for an aging population. Starting anew from the family and
education is a must if we want "to renew family togetherness, and direct work
towards the full development of people."
as a dare to show the family's social dimension, at the Meeting it was decided
to help the families affected by the earthquake in Emilia-Romagna. Fund raising
has started at the Milan Fair venue to help the victims. Three thousand pieces
of Grana Padano have also gone on sale to raise money for the farms and cheese
makers hit by the quake.
Caritas shipped 1,500 health and first aid kits, set up four tents for 800 beds
and raised 15,000 Euros.
the Feast of Testimonies in the evening of 2 June, in the presence of the pope,
an Emilia-Romagna family, victim of the quake, will come and tell their story.